City on the move: Walvis Bay, Namibia
Walvis Bay on the coast of Namibia is the country’s second-largest city and home to a natural deep-water harbour. Traditionally known for industry – specifically fishing activities – it has also emerged as a transport hub into the country with an international airport situated just outside the town where tourists enter the region for leisure and adventure activities.
“I feel that a lot of people don’t see the town for what it is and the potential it has,” says Dennis de Wet, founder and CEO of Slowtown Coffee Roastery. One of Slowtown’s six retail coffee shops is located in Walvis Bay.
“When I opened the shop here, many people told me it wouldn’t work. There are a lot of missed opportunities because people have the wrong perception of the town. They think only of fisheries. During 2020 and the lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is as if Walvis Bay just continued on its way; it is such a robust place,” explains De Wet.
Apart from the obvious possibilities presented by the harbour and the fishing industry, De Wet believes there are other prospects locked in the spending power of the local community. A prospective business won’t just have to cater for and rely on tourists.
“The people who live here are hardworking. There are many successful businesses and a lot of money in the town.”
Property prices in Walvis Bay are a lot lower than in its coastal neighbour, Swakopmund. The city has ample available space for development, many industry opportunities and can provide the human capital and skills needed should an entrepreneur want to start a new venture.
“With the expansion of the harbour, it can become even more strategic for not just Namibia, but the whole of Southern Africa. If investors enter and get the right support from the municipality, there are many opportunities waiting,” adds De Wet.